Four people for the fraudulent conveyance of over twenty properties in the City and County of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania: Zachary Stokes, Oscar Ketter, Elhadi Ibrahim and Steven Johnson.
Zachary Stokes, 55, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, Oscar Ketter, 42, Philadelphia, and Elhadi Ibrahim, 48, Philadelphia, were all arrested after a three year investigation by the District Attorney’s Economic and Cyber Crimes Unit. Steven Johnson, 49, Philadelphia, has also been charged but is not currently in custody.
The lengthy investigation revealed that the deeds of 22 uninhabited properties across the city were forged and recorded, transferring the properties from the true owners to the codefendants or to fictitious persons. The properties were then often sold to innocent purchasers, and in many cases the purchase price was just one dollar.
In each case of fraud, the lawful owner was unaware of the “sale” of the property and did not sign the deed or give anyone the right to transfer title to the property. Several homeowners contacted the District Attorney’s Office about the illegal activity after receiving notification from the department of records that the deed had been transferred. In many instances, the signature of the Notary Public on the deed was also forged and a counterfeit stamp was used so the fraudulent deed could be recorded as a public record.
Zachary Stokes, Steven Johnson, Oscar Ketter and Elhadi Ibrahim have been charged with numerous counts of:
1) Criminal Conspiracy, 18 Pa.C.S.A. •903 (F-3);
2) Theft by Unlawful Taking or Disposition, Pa.C.S.A. •3921 (F-3);
3) Theft by Deception, 18 Pa.C.S.A. •3922 (F-3);
4) Forgery, 18 Pa.C.S.A. •4101 (F-3);
5) Tampering with Records or Identification, 18 Pa.C.S.A. •4104 (M-1); and
6) Tampering with Public Records or Information, 18 Pa.C.S.A. •4911 (F-3).
The charges reflect criminal activity related to the following Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, properties:
1120 S Clifton Street;
1931 Dickinson Street;
1428 S. Colorado Street;
1527 S. Dorrance Street;
1447 Bancroft Street;
2029 Beechwood Street;
1631 Mole Street;
1408 S. Chadwick Street;
24 N. Paxon Street;
1534 S. Dorrance Street;
1011 Brandywine Street;
1026 Brandywine Street;
714 S. 11th Street;
1258 S. 22nd Street;
1428 S. 24th Street;
1325 N. Franklin Street;
1835 S 19th Street;
1422 S. 22nd Street;
1622 S. Carlisle Street;
2213 Kimball Street;
2404 W. Lehigh Ave; and
1927 Fernon Street.
Philadephia District Attorney Seth Williams announced the charges.
ADA Yvonne Ruiz of the Economic and Cyber Crimes Unit is specially assigned to this case.